It’s a good film.
Does it match its hype? No.
Is it, as one critic said, “not only the best Star Wars film, but also one of the best films of 2015.” Ummm. No.
I am a Star Wars fan. I’m not a total zealous fanatic, and I usually approach sci-fi with much apprehension. But Star Wars has always been one of the film franchises that I’ve enjoyed. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the memory of going to see the original Star Wars in the now defunct Penn Theatre in Butler, PA in 1977. I with my older sister and older brother. My sister passed away in 1978, and that’s still one of the tangible memories I have of her. I also remember my brother complaining before the movie that he wasn’t going to like it because he was a self-professed anti-sci-fi fan. But when he walked out of the theatre after the movie, I still remember his boisterous voice, “That was the best movie ever.” It felt that way to me, too. One of the reasons is that it was, from my recollection, only the second movie that 10 year-old boy ever saw. The original Star Wars has some warm and fuzzy feelings for me. The prequel trilogy, not so much.
But what about the new one? Yes, this is supposed to be a review, not a stroll down memory lane.
What is immediately obvious about The Force Awakens is that it absolutely has the look and feel of the original films. The story line, the symbolism, the good and evil, the feel of the Star Wars universe, the pacing, and just the storytelling – they nailed it. It felt like a stroll down memory lane, and that’s a good thing.
But at the same time, it felt kind of like a bad thing. There were SO many parallels and symbolism in the storytelling between the original trilogy and this one, which made many of the scenes predictable. I don’t want to give away any info, but you’ll know what I mean because you’ll be able to say, “I knew that was going to happen.” Overall, where it really lacks is in originality. There’s not much original about it at all. It almost seems like a re-make of the first three films put together. Not exactly, but close.
Of course, it was a pleasure to have the original cast members back. Yes, thirty years changes people a lot!
The storytelling is fast paced and the new characters become endearing after a while. There’s definitely new material to work with for episode 8 and beyond.
Overall, it’s a worthy restart on the franchise, but after it’s all said and done, it’s only an action sci-fi movie. There’s nothing earth-shattering going on here.
So if you believe the hype, you might find yourself a little disappointed.
But it’s certainly a good, breezy film to get your mind off the presidential race.